VFW NATIONAL COMMANDER TESTIFIES BEFORE CONGRESS
‘Our nation is still at war’
March 05, 2014
During today’s testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees, the national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW) expressed the organization’s deep concern over America’s disregard for veterans.
“What concerns the VFW and patriots everywhere is that America has forgotten that OUR NATION IS STILL AT WAR,” explained William A. Thien, commander-in-chief of the VFW. “We have 38,000 men and women stationed inside Afghanistan fighting to ensure the country doesn’t become a terrorist training ground again. We have another 30,000 stationed in South Korea helping to preserve a 61-year-old ceasefire that is looking more and more tenuous. We have tens of thousands more service members stationed abroad helping to bring peace and stability, and humanitarian assistance when and where it’s needed.”
Thien went on to address the war now being waged on American soil as well, reminding lawmakers of the ongoing veterans’ fight to retain their promised benefits and Quality of Life programs. He noted the passage of the recent COLA penalty, an initiative that VFW was adamantly against since its introduction late last year. “Some believe the cost of war ends when the last troops leave Afghanistan. We know this is not true, and that is why we need a fully funded state-of-the-art VA health care system, benefits programs and cemetery system.”
He pledged that the more than 1.9 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliaries will fight to preserve the safety and security of America and the viability of its All-Volunteer Military. He also vowed to fight attempts to force veterans, service members and their families to shoulder an unfair share of the nation’s debt, and promised to continue the fight for adequate funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as for advance appropriations for its programs.
Thien explained to Congress that the VFW’s mission is to ensure that a nation that creates veterans fulfills its sacred duty to care for them when they return home. “The VFW exists to serve veterans, and that includes representing them in Washington where the voice of one veteran is often overlooked and the voice of servicemen and women is prohibited.
“Everything the VFW wants costs money, but everything the VFW wants is for someone else—someone from every city and town in every congressional district, and in every state and territory who swore an oath of allegiance to protect and defend our great country and its Constitution,” Thien stated.
The testimony caps the 2014 Legislative Conference during which more than 500 VFW members and leaders convened in Washington to meet with their elected officials to discuss veterans issues and the VFW’s expectations.
VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY
February 28, 2014
In This Issue:
1. VFW Legislative Conference Update
2. Senate Fails to Pass Comprehensive Vets Bill
3. VFW Rallies for Advance Funding
4. Senate Discusses Sexual Assault – VA/DOD Services
5. House Discusses VR&E Program
6. House VA Committee Holds Health Care Oversight Hearing
7. President to Award 24 Medals of Honor
8. Veterans Crisis Line Info
1. VFW Washington Conference Begins: More than VFW 500 members are arriving in the Nation’s Capital this weekend to urge their members of Congress to end sequestration. “We are still a nation at war,” said VFW National Commander Bill Thien, “and our duty is to end the sequester and fight continued attempts to force veterans, service members and their families to shoulder an unfair share of the nation’s debt, fight for advance appropriations for all VA accounts, and fight to preserve the safety and security of the United States and the continued viability of the All-Volunteer Military.” Thien will present the VFW’s legislative positions at 10 a.m., Wednesday, in testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees. That evening he will present Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) with the VFW’s 2014 Congressional Award, which for 50 years has been presented annually to one sitting member of the House or Senate for significant legislative contributions on behalf of those who have worn the uniform. Other legislative conference events include:
Hosting a Wounded Warrior Dinner tonight for wounded troops and their families from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at nearby Bethesda, Md.
Awarding a $30,000 scholarship Monday evening at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Va., to the winner of the annual VFW Voice of Democracy program, a patriotic-themed contest that this year judged more than 40,000 high school student entries. The winner will be joined onstage by home schooled eight-grader Alexis Canen from Glendive, Mont., who beat 110,000 other middle school students to win a $5,000 scholarship in the VFW’s annual Patriot’s Pen contest.
The VFW will stream live video of the 2014 Voice of Democracy Parade of Winners beginning at 6 p.m. (EST), Monday, and video of the VFW national commander’s congressional testimony will stream online Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. (EST). Visit www.vfw.org/livestream to access the stream directly. If you miss the live feed, you can also use the “on-dem
Full Story: WW 2.28.14
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